I’m putting our stake in the ground on this debate: We believe co-sleeping is better than the Ferber method. There are essentially two competing philosophies about how parents ought to put their infant to sleep, The Ferber method and Co-sleeping. In a nutshell, the Ferber method, Named for Dr. Richard Ferber with whom this process has become identified, involves putting your infant to sleep and responding to its cries less and less frequently until the infant learns to sleep on its own without its parents’ comforting. This is also known as the cry-it-out method. The other method is called Co-sleeping, where, as the name implies, the baby sleeps with the parents. In this method the baby has the comfort and attention provided by its parents in order to ease it into sleep.
Now many orthodox pediatricians are opposed to co-sleeping on the grounds that sleeping with an infant in the bed could put the infant in danger, or even kill the infant accidentally in an extreme case. However, the truth is that among parents who do not go to sleep drunk or under the influence of other intoxicants, the baby is perfectly safe: a baby will let you know if it needs you to move the heck out of its way. This anti -co-sleeping stance is an example of what i like to call “learned resistance to salutary instinct” also known as fixing something when it ain’t broke. This is an instance of humans conducting research and devising an artificial behavior because it appears to be more efficient but in reality may actually be worse than what it intends to improve upon.
The funny thing is that Dr. Ferber himself is not a big fan of the Ferber method after all!:
Dr. Ferber, despite his link to the technique, said he rarely used it.
“It’s not a pattern that most parents will do,” he said. (…)
Despite the risks, Dr. Ferber came out in support of co-sleeping, for parents who prefer it, in the latest edition of his book, “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems” (Fireside, 2006). “To me, whether a family chooses to co-sleep should be their decision, and we work with them either way,” he said.
One of the most prominent advocates of co-sleeping, Dr. Robert Sears, who co-authored “The Baby Sleep Book” with his father, mother and brother, is a strong critic of “cry-it-out” methods. “We’re all for routines and consistency, so long as the baby isn’t left to cry it out alone,” Dr. Sears said in a telephone interview from his family’s pediatric clinic in Capistrano Beach, Calif.
-NYTimes Science Times Article “For Getting Baby to Sleep” 12/12/06 by Dan Hurley (link to PDF of whole article)
Like so many things in our modern life we have to unlearn the apparently advanced, outwardly efficient ways of doing things and return to straight, simple organic choices. Trust me, baby likes it much better that way!
Additional reference: Slate article written by a “Failed Ferberizer” (web link)
In our case, Isa is so big now, I worry more about myself in the bed. Palma affectionately calls him The Bruiser.